From The Heart

Publish date: 05/31/1998

Matthew 4:18-23  (NAS)

18And walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." 20And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him. 21And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the {son} of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. 22And they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him. 23And {Jesus} was going about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.

Matthew 9:9  (NAS)
9And as Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man, called Matthew, sitting in the tax office; and He said to him, "Follow Me!" And he rose, and followed Him.

Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Matthew were all going about their business as usual, when Jesus called on them to follow Him. It appears that they did not even hesitate, they did not argue, they did not make excuses. They dropped everything and instantly obeyed Him. 1 Corinthians 8:3(Amp) says that if we love God truly we will “promptly obey” Him. What a commitment these men had and what blessing was poured out on them. They paid a price, but they were the “first-born from the dead” after Jesus arose from the grave and the world will forever remember them as the pioneers of the church. They got to preach the Gospel first and to see the same miracles that Jesus did, taking place through their lives.

Mark 8:34-38  (NAS)
34And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35"For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it. 36"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37"For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

Jesus gave up His needs, wants and desires to come to the earth, walk as a man, humble Himself, suffer persecution, pain, rejection and death for us. We may think that we have given up so much to serve God, but we have given up nothing at all! We have given up sin, sickness, and the wages of sin, which is death! We lose our lower, natural, temporal life for Jesus and we find His higher, spiritual, eternal life. Nothing this world offers can compare with God’s eternal life. The things of this world are so tempting, but as anyone who has had a near-death experience or a vision of heaven will tell you – the things of the world fade into nothing in the presence of God.

Luke 9:57-62  (NAS)
57And as they were going along the road, someone said to Him, "I will follow You wherever You go." 58And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air {have} nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." 59And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Permit me first to go and bury my father." 60But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God." 61And another also said, "I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home." 62But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

If you have decided to follow Jesus, do it with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Don’t do it half-heartedly. Don’t do it with one foot still in the world. God hates luke-warm Christians. It is all or nothing. Don’t look back longingly at where you have come from. Your old life was not that great. If it were you would still be there. This is your new life. Commit to serve God, holding nothing back. God will be as committed to you as you are to Him – so give Him your best!